Why do historians make good copywriters?
I know, you said, “My best copywriter is my janitor!” And I said, ” If I could clone your custodian, everyone would be happy.”
But, if your “mop man” cannot do the script, hire the historian. Why?
1. The historian writer is accustomed to researching their topic with an eye for pertinent detail. The historian describes broad themes so that the detail is not left hanging in the wind. The copywriter researches the product, identifies benefits, and knows the buyers’ mentality.
2. The historian is a story teller. The story with rich detail relates the life of Abe Lincoln in a way that is memorable.
For example, why did President Lincoln declare the emancipation of slaves? To free the slaves because he believed in equality, you answer. No! Lincoln wanted recruits for his army: slaves and anti-slave activists. The reader is surprised by this detail, because he learned about “honest Abe” in his children’s books. This interpretation creates a dissonance between earlier perception of Lincoln and the researched findings on him. Ad copy can create “uptakes” for the reader about the products’ benefits: between what they thought and recent discoveries.
3. Rich detail can be interesting. Mrs. Wilson decided for Woodrow Wilson the course of polity during the last three weeks of his presidency. At the end of Wilson’s tenure, when he was ill and near death, Mrs. Wilson made the decisions of state with the help of his advisors. She could be viewed as our first women working as president. Rich detail about the product can enliven the copy.
4. The historian interprets the facts in the foreground against the broad context or background.
The civil war was a time for forging a nation and quieting the forces of succession: backdrop. Forefront and backdrop are tools for the copywriter. Digital equipment that transfers info to mobile devices is in the forefront of current sales. The backdrop is the mobility of consumers. Another forefront in this digital age, could be the attraction say of smart phone sales to young consumers.
5. The historian has his bullet list to prove whatever his thesis or big idea should be.
The copywriter presents benefits of the product or service for why people should buy x, y, or z.
The historian tries to list the causes of World War I? No, the assassination of the Crown Prince in Sarajevo was not the reason for World War I.
The copywriter lists the benefits of the product with an eye on the needs of the consumer. Could the consumer be surprised by a benefit? Great!
6. The historian identifies with the characters in the past and is mindful of the readers’ interests and frame of reference. The copywriter wants to know his audience as well as the product. To sell trucks, you want a truck that is “strong”, a key selling point.
7. Historians write. Copywriters persuade.
8. Historians are thought of as dull but the best are spellbinding: Doris Goodwin; Arthur Schlesinger; and Howard Zinn. Their copy is interesting. The copywriter has to hold the readers’ attention. To start, the copy person has to grab the attention of prospect. Hook the buyer, set the sale, and bring in the sale!
Are you wondering whether you could be successful in copywriting? What kind of education would be necessary? This copy writer trained in history. There are people who are successful copywriters from every background. Janet Kirkpatrick studied history at Clark U in Worcester, MA, then got a M.A. in education from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Finally, she received her library degree from Simmons College in Boston. She was successful Realtor with a sales and marketing experience. Regardless of your training, you can apply your previous skills to copywriting. The door is open.